The Commercial Drivers’ Rehabilitation Consultative Council (CDRCC) has pleaded with employers and other relevant authorities to ensure their perks and working condition are improved.
The grouping has described their working condition as not only pathetic, but also unsustainable.
CDRCC chief executive officer Phillip Phiri made the plea recently during an interface with Road Transport Operators Association (RTOA) in Blantyre.
He said local and international transporters were paying their drivers as low as K20 000 per month, yet fellow drivers in other Sadc region earn over K100 000 a month.
“It is sad to see foreign investors taking advantage of Malawians by paying them lowly and yet the same companies in countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa pay their employees lots of money in dollars,” complained Phiri.
He said such conduct has led certain drivers to mishandle their employers’ valuables such as tyres and batteries.
“For example, some transporters will send their drivers to offload or collect goods worth millions of kwacha and yet the driver goes without an upkeep allowance. How do they expect such a driver to survive on such a trip?” he queried.
In response, president of RTOA Abdul Lambat said efforts were being made to improve the drivers’ working environment.
“We are quite aware of the huge responsibility a driver has when they operate our vehicles amounting to millions of kwacha and we are doing everything possible to improve their working standards,” he said.
“We are delighted to report that we have government’s commitment in our efforts to better things as currently the Minister of Transport has given us room to meet him every 90 days to continue deliberating on the suggestions we made to improve the transport industry.”
Lambat then called on all stakeholders to partner with government in creating a friendly environment for the sector so that local transporters thrive.
CDRCC is an umbrella body for all commercial drivers aimed at lobbying for improved working conditions.